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Verizon sues FCC over data roaming rules

19 мая 2011

Verizon Wireless has sued the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in a bid to overturn the regulator's recently-adopted rules on data roaming.

In a court filing seen by Total Telecom the operator accused the FCC of overstepping its jurisdiction, alleging that the Data Roaming Order "is in excess of the Commission's statutory authority, is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion". Verizon called on the court to overturn the new regulations.

The rules were approved by the FCC in April and require players to establish data roaming agreements with their rivals in order to ensure that consumers do not experience any disruption to their mobile broadband service if they wander outside their operator's network coverage.

"Without data roaming guarantees, consumers will be limited in their choices, particularly in rural areas," said the FCC at the time.

Verizon and its rival AT&T reacted angrily, accusing the watchdog of unnecessary intervention in a bid to exert downward pressure on roaming rates, and warned that such action discouraged network investment in less profitable areas.

The U.S. Rural Cellular Association (RCA) on Monday slammed Verizon's appeal and insisted that the FCC has the authority to adopt data roaming rules.

"It is not at all surprising that Verizon Wireless is appealing the data roaming order," said RCA CEO Steven Berry. "Verizon has fought competitive policies for a long time."

He insisted that the FCC was "diligent and meticulous in its order".

"The [FCC] order allows for case-by-case negotiation of data roaming agreements and does not constitute an inflexible mandate on terms and conditions," he added.

Berry went further, accusing the country's two biggest telcos of needlessly attacking FCC rules designed to protect competition.

"In sports parlance, this is the equivalent of what you would call a 'tag-team match'," he said. "If AT&T is not there to fight a logical competitive policy decision, then Verizon will step in to complete the tag-team operation for the duopoly."

Источник: Total Telecom

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